Friday, March 30, 2012

Artsy stuff - and a confession

The best laid plans...  Sometimes don't happen.  I have to confess here that I am not at all artsy, or crafty, or any of those things.  I have an awesome book of art, where different famous pieces of art are introduced, you can learn about the style, and then there is even a project idea with specific instructions, so you can re-create at home.  It is a wonderful book, and I have had every intention to incorporate it in our homeschool.  Actually, I have two of those types of books.  Another one that is geared to kids a little bit older. I love looking through the pages, and dreaming of doing all the fun projects.  The thing is, I have yet to actually DO something.  So, I've been feeling a little bit guilty for depriving my children of opportunities to express their creative sides.  I love reading blogs like my friend Arianne's, I love all the fun creative things she does with her kids.  And my own creativity ends there.  So this past week, as I was, once again, contemplating what I could do to make incorporating some sort of art education part of our weekly schedule, I found this one day, when I came home from piano lesson with Bryan.

Kaylee and Elly had raided our art supply basket and gone to town.  In the process, they learned about using different types of paint, mixing colors, layering colors, and they even got creative and did prints of their hands and feet.  And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Something I had known for a long time, that had gotten lost somewhere in a dusty corner of my brain.  Children are not empty vessels waiting to be filled.  As a parent, I do not have to teach them everything.  Some things, yes, but for so many areas in learning, all I have to do is facilitate.  Provide materials and opportunities, and let them do the rest.  Then I started feeling better about my own lack of creative genius, because my kids will develop theirs all on their own.  And teach me in the process.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Ramblings

Well, that was fun!  We started out the month with a visit to the Weather Museum.  It's a rather small place, but the kids still had a fun time.  Then the birthdays started.  Kaylee went first, turning 7 years old.  She got to have a sleep over party with her two little friends, which was most definitely the highlight of her day.

A few days later, Elly got to celebrate her much anticipated 4th birthday.  A donut for breakfast and opening presents was all she needed to be happy.

Bryan finished out birthday week at our house when he turned 9.  Poor guy never did get a cake, not even a donut.  I think we were all done with the sweets by the time his birthday came around...  He may still get a party at some point, not entirely sure yet.  He was still happy, though.  After all, it's really the presents that make a birthday great, right?

Besides partying, the boys also enjoyed their scouting activities.  Bryan earned his Bear badge in Cub Scouts, and Tyler got to go on a camp out with his 11 year old scout troop.

Last week, we finally got to go on a field trip we'd been wanting to go on for quite some time.  I actually organized this one for our homeschool group.  We went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and saw the Crime Lab Detective exhibit.  It was worth it for the $3 field trip rate we paid, but I don't know that I would pay regular price for it.  The kids enjoyed it, especially the boys, but I was a bit underwhelmed.  Maybe my expectations were too high?  Or maybe it was the fact that Kaylee started having some tummy issues and I couldn't really spend as much time solving the crime as I would have liked.  We also saw Dawn of the Space Age, which everyone enjoyed immensely.  All in all, a fun field trip.  I love the science museum! 

Speaking of science, the kids have also been enjoying our new science curriculum we recently started.  We started with chemistry.  What's not to love when you get to play with marshmallows???

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kale Quinoa Quiche

So I've been having this goal to start blogging again, and what better way to do that than start with food?  Food is always good, right?  Kale season is in full swing here, and while I don't have any in my garden this year, my friend has plenty in hers, so I still get to eat some when I feel like it.  Yum!  I've also been wanting to explore the many ways of quinoa goodness.  What better way than to combine the two?  I got the inspiration for the following recipe here, and changed it up just a bit to fit what ingredients I had on hand.  It turned out delicious! Even Bryan ate some, which is saying something.  He generally turns down anything green...

You need:
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
some olive oil
1 bunch kale - about 6-10 leaves, depending on size
half a white onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup shredded cheese, I used a Mexican blend
1/2 cup half & half
5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9" pie dish and set aside. Put quinoa in a sieve and rinse (the grains are very small, so get a fine mesh). Combine quinoa and water in a small pan and bring to boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, dice onion and take stems off kale and chop.  Heat olive oil in pan, add onion, and cook for a couple of minutes until onion starts to caramelize.  Add chopped kale (make sure you use a large pan, as there is quite a lot of kale!).  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Mince and add clove of garlic, and cook one more minute.  Remove mixture from heat.
3. While the kale is cooling, mix eggs and half & half in a bowl until well combined, add some salt and pepper.
4. Add egg mixture to kale mixture, and stir until well combined.  Stir in cooked quinoa and cheese at this point, as well.  
5. Pour mixture into pie dish and cook for about 45 minutes, until top is golden.  Knife inserted in center should come out without runny egg on it.
6. Eat and enjoy!